Just the Facts: Android versus iPhone

Date Fri, June 8 2012

It is ridiculously, mindblowingly, flabbergasting that Android phones have been out for three years and users still don’t know the difference between Android the operating system and Droid, the lineup of phones from Verizon. In fact, it seems that consumers in general still don’t get what Android is or does or can do or will do. It’s not wonder that every single Android vs iPhone post I read by anyone who isn’t a techie barely manages to get one thing right, let alone the whole thing. I can stand it no longer.

Verizon licenses the term “droid” from LucasArts and re-brands phones with special names. Many of these phones are available from other carriers. For example, the original Droid was the Motorola Milestone on other networks.

iPhone Android
Software and hardware manufactured by Apple. Operating system by Google, manufactured by dozens of companies, including HTC and Motorola
New iPhone and iOS version released yearly Android updates released periodically, Google releases a flagship phone with the new version. Other manufacturers release dozens of phones per year
Apple offers updates to iOS for several years. iOs is most recent as of Fall 2011 Android recommends manufacturers provide updates for 18 months; however, updates are in the hands of manufacturers. Flagship phones with pure Android see more updates. 4.0 is most recent.
Only four hardware–iPhone, iPhone3GS, iPhone4, iPhone 4S–versions available. Hardware varies between devices. Many options for cameras, processor, internal memory and storage.
All models have at least 8GB internal storage. Internal storage varies from less than 1GB to 32GB, but users can extend with MicroSD cards
Most users have same iOS version. Market is incredibly fragmented, with different versions of Android on various phones.
Stays fresh for at least a year Android phones seems to become outdated quickly
Available from every major carrier and many smaller networks are picking it up Android phones available from every network, but not every phone is on every network
Same name across all networks, IE iPhone 4S Phones renamed by carriers, IE Droid from Verizon is Motorola Milestone on other carriers. Networks and manufacturers create lineups like Droid (Verizon) or Evo (HTC). All Droids user Android, not all Androids are droids
Generally costly; although price is more affordable on a contract plan Prices vary from low-end to prices similar to iPhone. On contract, some phones are free; others are discounted
Most default software from Apple, with other software added by carriers Included manufacturer, carrier and Google software on top of default apps for the operating system
Uses iTunes AppStore where users can download many free and premium apps Uses Google Play Market or Amazon App Store where users can download many free and premium apps. Users can also directly install APK files.
Integrated iPod player, syncs with iTunes Music player and Google music. Other music apps available. Third-party apps sync with various PC software
Native messaging and video chat apps (iMessage and Face Time). Voice-enabled assistance called Siri. Needs third-party apps for same functions. Only native texting.
No Flash support Native Flash for browsing websites, watching videos and using some apps
Apps are generally compatible based on iOS version, not iPhone version Some apps don’t work across all phones
OS and launcher are all Apple, no layering. Manufacturers layer OS with themes. Only flagship phones are pure Android
No widgets Widget-friendly, multiple home screens
Users can gain access to system files through a process called jailbreaking. Users then rely on launcher/store/installer Cydia. Users can gain access through rooting. They can then install new phone-specific OS software called ROMs. Dozens of ROMs exist.
GSM version available for user overseas Some phones GSM, not all

2 Responses

  1. Pam June 14 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    My daughter has been wanting one of these phones and I honestly didn’t know the differences between the two. Thank you for your chart so I am able to make a more informed decision.

  2. Danielle June 14 2012 @ 8:49 pm

    I don’t think we’ll ever switch from our Android. Thanks for the breakdown!

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